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Springfield, Massachusetts is considering creating a law that would ban the sale of a single cigar if the cigar is priced less than $2.50. Any violations would automatically equal additional fines paid to the city coffers.

The law calls for a price of at least $2.50 per cigar, unless sold in packages of four cigars, or more. Single cigars priced under $2.50 would be banned.

The official reason is to stop underage smoking (which of course is already banned). If the city enforced the underage statues in the first place additional laws would not be needed. Leaving many confused on the intention of the law, though one suspects another revenue stream for the city would be the primary motivator.

The problem with the law is that it just overlaps existing cigar laws, hence allowing for double fines for the same violation.

If a vendor doesn’t check an individuals ID, and sells him a single cigar now he can be fined for both not checking the ID AND selling a single cigar. Two violations with two fines with a single action as compared to a single fine for the single action effectively doubling the revenue made for each violation.

Another issue is effectiveness, in essence the city council of Springfield somehow believes that encouraging underage smokers to purchase cigars in bulk AND at a discount is a better idea than paying full price. The way the law is drafted now one receives an automatic discount if they purchase more than 4 cigars at a time as the $2.50 minimum purchase price does not apply with a pack of 4 or more cigars.

Its possible there were good intentions, it’s also possible it was a way to double dip for fines and fees, but the end result is that this law does not do what it’s officially advertised and most likely will lead to bulk discounted rate purchases of cigars for underage smokers.

Bad idea.


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